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66. ABETO v.

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES Besides, appellant tried to prove that it had exercised all the cares, skill and diligence
GR No. L-28692/ July 30, 1982/Transportation Law/ required by law on that particular flight in question.
PETITIONERS: Conrado Vda. De Abeto et al
RESPONDENTS: Philippine Air Lines  Trial Court ruled in favor of Abeto. They ruled that based on evidence, the pilot disobeyed
the route order of the CAA. PAL also failed to test the airworthiness of the plane before
SUMMARY. Judge Abeto booked a flight from Iloilo to Manila. The plane went missing but the flight, thus they were liable.
authorities had declared that it had crashed. PAL claimed that the crash was beyond the
control of the pilot, because the plane was airworthy and the change of route made by the ISSUES & RATIO.
pilot was due to the bad weather conditions. In summary they claim the crash was due to 1. WON PAL was liable for violating the contract of carriage? – YES.
fortuitous event. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The SC ruled that PAL was Nueca was not a passenger thus, MRC did not owe him extraordinary diligence.
liable. (See doctrine below)
A The prescribed airway of plane PI-C133 that afternoon of November 23, 1960, with Capt.
DOCTRINE. In an action based on a contract of carriage, the court need not make an express de Mesa, as the pilot, was Iloilo-Romblon-Manila, denominated as airway "Amber I," and the
finding of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier in order to hold it responsible to pay prescribed elevation of the flight was 6,000 ft. The fact is, the plane did not take the designated
the damages sought for by the passenger. route because it was some 30 miles to the west when it crashed at Mt. Baco.

By the contract of carriage, the carrier assumes the express obligation to transport the According to defendant’s witness, Ramon A. Pedroza, Administrative Assistant of the
passenger to his destination safely and to observe extraordinary diligence with a due regard Philippine Air Lines, Inc., this tragic crash would have not happened had the pilot continued
for all the circumstances, and any injury that might be suffered by the passenger is right away on the route indicated.
attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier (Art. 1756, New Civil Code). This is an
exception to the general rule that negligence must be proved. It is clear that the pilot did not follow the designated route for his flight between
Romblon and Manila. The weather was clear and he was supposed to cross airway
"Amber I" over Romblon; instead, he made a straight flight to Manila in violation of
any traffic rules.
 Judge Quirico Abeto, with the necessary tickets, boarded the Philippine Air Lines’ PI-C133
The provisions of the Civil Code on this question of liability are clear and explicit.
plane at the Mandurriao Airport, Iloilo City for Manila. He was listed as the No. 18
passenger in its Load Manifest.
Article 1733 binds common carriers, "from the nature of their business and by reasons of
public policy, . . . to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance . . . for the safety of the
 The plane which would then take two hours from Iloilo to Manila did not reach its passengers transported by them according to all the circumstances of each case."
destination and the next day there was news that the plane was missing. After three weeks,
it was ascertained that the plane crashed at Mt. Baco, Province of Mindoro. Article 1755 establishes the standard of care required of a common carrier, which is, "to carry
the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost
 All the passengers, including Judge Abeto, must have been killed instantly and their diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances."
remains were scattered all over the area. Among the articles recovered on the site of the
crash was a leather bag with the name "Judge Quirico Abeto." Article 1756 fixes the burden of proof by providing that "in case of death of or injuries to
passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently,
 PAL tried to prove that the plane crash at Mt. Baco was beyond the control of the pilot. unless they prove that they observed extra-ordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733
The plane at the time of the crash was airworthy for the purpose of conveying passengers and 1755."
across the country as shown by the certificate of airworthiness issued by the Civil
Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Lastly, Article 1757 states that "the responsibility of a common carrier for the safety of
passengers . . . cannot be dispensed with or lessened by stipulation, by the posting of notices,
 There was navigational error but no negligence or malfeasance on the part of the pilot. The by statements on tickets, or otherwise."
plane had undergone 1,822 pre-flight checks, 364 thorough checks, 957 terminating checks
and 501 after-maintenance checks. These checks were part of the quality control operation In the absence of a satisfactory explanation by appellant as to how the accident occurred, the
of defendant airline. presumption is, it is at fault.

 Further, deviation from its prescribed route was due to the bad weather conditions between WHO WON? ABETO
Mt. Baco and Romblon and strong winds which caused the plane to drift to Mt. Baco.
 Under the circumstances, PAL argues that the crash was a fortuitous event and, therefore, Heirs of Abeto were asking for MORAL AND ACTUAL damages, and for loss of the deceased Abeto’s
PAL cannot be held liable under the provisions of Article 1174 of the New Civil Code. earning capacity.